She criticized the company on CNBC for labeling its driver-assistance systems as “full self-driving.” The systems are under fire after vehicles with them were involved in several crashes over the past few years.
“It’s clear that if you’re marketing something as full self-driving, and it is not full self-driving, and people are misusing the vehicles and the technology, you have a design flaw and you have to prevent that misuse,” Homendy said.
“Part of that is how you talk about your technology. It is not full self-driving. ... It’s misleading.” The NTSB has three or four open investigations into Tesla fires and crashes, she said.
The Palo Alto, Calif., company's stock recently traded around $1,035, up 1%. It has leaped 26% in the past eight days amid investors' enthusiasm about the company’s prospects.
Tesla wasn’t immediately available for comment.
It markets its driver-assistance platforms as Autopilot, Full Self-Driving and FSD Beta in the U.S., CNBC reports.
But its cars aren’t self-driving, and in owners’ manuals it cautions drivers to maintain their hands on the wheel and “be prepared to take over at any moment.”
Morningstar analyst Seth Goldstein assigns Tesla a narrow moat, but puts fair value for the stock at only $680.
“Much of the good news is already priced into the stock,” he wrote last week. “Tesla carries tremendous uncertainties. Electric vehicles could remain a niche segment.”